At long last, Atlanta United’s 2018 schedule has been released. We can all now plan our entire year around 34 matches that will inevitably leave us jumping for joy, sulking in misery, and covered in beer. Seriously, why do we do this to ourselves? Curse you, fandom. Curse you.
With that being said, let’s take a closer examination at what exactly we can expect from Atlanta’s 2018 fixtures.
It’s going to be really tough losing to D.C. United three times again
Alright, moving on.
Atlanta doesn’t have to travel to Cascadia and that’s pretty awesome
Last season, Atlanta made trips to the northwest on three separate occasions to face Portland, Seattle, and Vancouver. This season, all three of those teams are coming to Atlanta. Considering those are the three farthest MLS clubs from the ATL, it’ll certainy be a nice change of pace for the players.
Atlanta travels substantially less miles in 2018 than they did in 2017
In their inaugural season, Atlanta saw every corner of the country and compiled a whopping 20,593 sky miles(and forced to fly commercial for fourteen of those flights but that’s neither here nor there). In 2018 however, they’ll see a decrease in travel of nearly 16% as their needed miles decrease to 17,310. Generally speaking for sports teams, the less travel needed throughout a season, the better.
Tough competition comes to Atlanta
Supporters will certainly be entertained in 2018, but especially with away teams who are looking to turn some heads at Mercedes-Benz Stadium this season. LAFC, NYCFC, NYRB, Portland, Seattle, Toronto, and Columbus will all visit the ATL with a different storyline in mind. LAFC is now the expansion team looking to make a statement their first season, NYCFC attempts to finally break through in the East, Atlanta will look to avenge their first home loss against the Red Bulls, Portland and Seattle are league powerhouses, Toronto is the defending champion, and Columbus is responsible for the Five Stripes’ crushing playoff defeat from last season. It should be quite a fun time at MBS in 2018.
No more absurdly condensed schedules
Looking back on last season, one can’t help but wonder if Atlanta’s stretch of 8 matches in 23 days had any negative impact on the team towards the end of the campaign, as they went winless their last five matches. That appears to not be a cause for concern this year, as the most condensed part of the schedule is a string of four matches played within sixteen days. This is quite normal in MLS, so it’s fair game in that sense. It’ll be nice to not have to think about scheduling being something that holds this team back from what it can ultimately accomplish.
What are your biggest takeaways? Let us know in the comments.